P&O Cruises re-routes ships to avoid Norwegian ports closed by strike

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The Norwegian pilots’ strike has forced P&O to devise completely new itineraries for two cruises departing from Southampton this weekend.
Azura leaves on Saturday and was scheduled to take her 3,000 passengers on a seven-night voyage to Stavanger, Flåm, Olden and Bergen. Instead of cruising in the fjords, they will now travel to Zeebrugge, Rotterdam, Copenhagen and Gothenburg.
Adonia, departing on Sunday, should have been taking a 14-night voyage along the Norwegian coast to North Cape and the Midnight Sun. Now her 700 passengers will be diverted to Iceland and the Faeroes, with calls in Ireland and Scotland en route.
P&O say that because the changes are beyond their control and the result of force majeure, passengers – who have paid up to £7,500 each for a top suite on Adonia – will be allowed to cancel without penalty.
But by the same token, those who choose to travel on the new itineraries will not be able to claim compensation for missing out on Norway although passengers who have booked excursions on the original itineraries will have their payments refunded
A P&O statement said: “We are contacting all affected passengers to advise them of the itinerary changes. Should the strike be called off, we will add as much Norwegian port content back into the itinerary as possible, and passengers will be kept informed on board.”
Royal Caribbean told me last night that Vision of the Seas would be starting her next cruise today from Gothenburg and that embarking and disembarking passengers would be transferred to and from Oslo by road, a journey of about three-and-a-half hours.
They added that “should the strike continue” Brilliance of the Seas – turning round in Amsterdam today – would be unable to call at any Norwegian ports and will be diverted to Copenhagen and Aarhus in Denmark, and Warnemunde in Germany.
One passenger who contacted me said she had been promised $250 on-board credit per cabin as compensation.
The announcements follow Fred Olsen’s decision to send Balmoral to Copenhagen and Gothenburg in order to avoid the strike-bound Norwegian ports.
Adonia’s full itinerary now consists of Dublin, Reykjavik, Islafjordur, Akureyri, Torshavn, Lerwick, Leith, and Zeebrugge, returning to Southampton on June 17.
The Norwegian Coastal Administration said: “At this stage, it is the drivers of the pilot boats that have been brought out on strike. The consequence of this is that the Norwegian Coastal Administration cannot transfer pilots to and from vessels.”
The dispute brought a surprise visitor to Lerwick harbour today in the shape of German cruise ship AIDAluna. The ship had been unable to berth in Norway, and her 2,000 passengers had an unexpected day in Scotland during their return to Hamburg.

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:48+00:00 1 June 2012|Cruise destinations, Cruise news|8 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

8 Comments

  1. Tom Burke 1 June 2012 at 11:58 am - Reply

    John
    I’ve got a comment on my blog from a passenger on Azura who’s saying the following:
    “I’m due to sail on Azura tomorrow and have just had a call from P&O – they are saying it is ‘force majeure’ so as it’s out of their control they will not offer any compensation or a refund, but did give the option of changing to a different cruise on a different date, subject to availability. The only refunds they will give is for excursions already booked and paid for.”
    What do you think? – some confusion somewhere?

  2. John Honeywell 1 June 2012 at 2:07 pm - Reply

    I don’t think there is any confusion. Having declared the itinerary changes are due to force majeure, P&O are giving passengers the option to cancel without penalty (under normal circumstances passengers would lose out financially by cancelling so late in the day) and to switch to a different cruise/different date subject to availability. But the quid pro quo is that there’s no compensation payable for the cancellation of Norway ports and the substitution of alternatives. Only money back is for pre-paid Norway excursions, and passengers will then, no doubt, re-book on excursions in Iceland etc. Be interesting to see at what capacity the ships sail, and how many passengers choose to stay at home. Iceland itinerary is an acceptable substitute for Adonia, not so sure Azura passengers will be as happy with Zeebrugge, Rotterdam etc.

  3. Derek Biddlecombe 1 June 2012 at 4:08 pm - Reply

    My wife and I are sailing on “Azura” tomorrow, and although disappointed, have decided to accept the alternative, HOWEVER- we are now out of pocket as we have had to return our Norwegian Krone and substitute Danish & Swedish Krone and Euros. This has left us £40 down! I don’t suppose P&O have thought of that one when they said “No compensation”!!!!!

  4. Jordan Bailey 1 June 2012 at 11:22 pm - Reply

    I’m sailing on Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas tomorrow. We were supposed to dock in Geiranger, Alesund and Bergen, but because of the strikes, RCI have changed the itinerary. We are now cruising to Copenhagen, Berlin and Aarhus. They’ve given us $250 on board credit per stateroom as compensation. Royal Caribbean has handled the situation very smoothly and generously. Wish the same could be said for P&O.

  5. John Honeywell 2 June 2012 at 12:04 am - Reply

    Derek, if it’s any consolation, the cost of food, drink and souvenirs in Denmark and Sweden is likely to be marginally less than in Norway. Bon voyage!

  6. Barbara Wyatt 2 June 2012 at 12:38 pm - Reply

    We were booked on the Azura 2nd June and we were notified yesterday at approx 17oo by a text message stating that the itinery had been changed we have been offered a full refund but at this point no compensation for our expences incurred on travelling to Southampton the day before. I intend to take it further as I believe that the Company were aware of the Port strikes a lot earlier than they are saying. If we cancelled within 24 hrs of sailing we would have to pay in full it is only right that P & O should do the same.

  7. John Honeywell 2 June 2012 at 3:06 pm - Reply

    Barbara, I hope that now the strike has been called off you are back on board Azura and on course for the fjords. Bon voyage!

  8. Ruth Williams 2 January 2013 at 2:18 pm - Reply

    Luxury cruising is a trip of satisfaction, fun and entertainment.Taking you to many interesting locations over the world.

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